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SOP's 4 life!

SOP

Oh man, are you guys in for a barn burner of a blog post. Standard Operating Procedures!!! I can hear you simultaneously clicking the “x” button on your tabs right now. But bear with me. As someone who is very type-a, just ask any of the trainers at Triumph, SOP’s and organization can set you free. Firstly, lets get rid of the acronym and very stuffy sounding “SOP”. It sounds ridiculously steril and makes me cringe a little. Let’s call them “life-hacks”, yeah that hasn’t been beaten into the ground enough yet, in fact it’s near the top of the list of words to stop using in 2020. No, for ease of use and understanding we’ll just call them shortcuts, because what we’re doing is creating a shorter path to decision making.

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What exactly are we talking about when we’re discussing the shortcuts in our life? For brevity, we’re looking to take away as many decisions when completing a task. I grew up with way too many video games so a lot of my strategies are based on them. Think of it this way, you have an energy bar from 0%-100% every day. You wake up with 100% energy and when you go to bed at night you are at 0%. Your goal every day is to conserve as much energy as you can for important tasks and every task you complete depletes some of that energy bar. Bear with me here, I can see the remainder of you reaching for that cursor to click out of this. A day without shortcuts may look like this:

Time Activity Energy Level Remaining
6:00 AM Wake up 100
6:30 AM Get dressed 95
7:00 AM Eat breakfast 90
8:00 AM Leave for work 85
8:30 AM Arrive at work 83
9:00 AM First meeting of day 80

All in all, not a bad morning, seemingly pretty typical. What if I told you that by that 9:00 AM time slot you could have more energy left over for more important or more fun tasks later in the day? Let’s start from the beginning of your morning. Your alarm goes off at 6:00 AM, without a strategy put in place for your day you hit the snooze, then again, now it’s 6:15 and you’re running behind. You rush around and looking for something to wear for the meeting you have later that day and you’re feeling the anxiety and uncertainty creep in, you just want to crawl back into bed. You run to your kitchen and grab something on the way out, it’s cold and you know it probably isn’t the best option for breakfast.

With a strategy put into place it may look more like this.

Time Activity Energy Level Remaining
6:00 AM Wake up 100
6:30 AM Get dressed 98
7:00 AM Eat breakfast 95
8:00 AM Leave for work 93
8:30 AM Arrive at work 90
9:00 AM First meeting of day 87

Alarm goes off and you get out of bed on the first alarm, you walk over to your dresser where you have everything laid out from the night before as you have an important meeting today. It’s 6:20 and you’re ahead of schedule for your morning. You make eggs and avocado toast for breakfast because you’re basic.

A much shorter route right? Going back to my slightly obscure energy meter, instead of having 90% energy remaining by the time you rush into the kitchen you now have time to make something better for you and get to relax a bit before you head off to your daily commute with 95% of your daily energy remaining. Sounds trivial, 5%, but stack that with many other decisions throughout the day and it adds up to quite a bit of energy.

Going back a bit to our morning. There’s a term I heard from Dave Asprey’s book “Game Changers” that’s stuck with me for some time now. Capsule wardrobe and capsule nutrition. The idea being you should be able to go into your closet blindfolded and pick a shirt and pants out and they will match. Leaving you with more energy to spend on larger decisions throughout the day. The same goes for capsule nutrition, or in our world, meal prep. The more energy you spend on doing menial tasks like deciding what to eat, the less energy you have to spend on things like finainial, relationship or career focused goals.

We can extrapolate this out to just about anything in your life that has set times and controllable variables. What’s great about CrossFit? Every day is planned for you, there’s no guesswork in what you’re doing because someone is telling you just that. We’re taking a shortcut to decision making in fitness. If you have to drop your kids off for an hour practice but it’s too far to drive home and come back? Use this time to answer emails, read a book you’ve been meaning to finish or complete some task you can take with you.

The opportunities are endless if you look for them. As humans we’re conditioned to take the easiest path toward satisfying one of our primal needs. Whether this is shelter, food or sex. If there’s an easier way us humans will find it. This is not to be confused with operational short cuts. We’re not here trying to find the fastest and easiest way to sex. Think more of how can I prepare myself to either combine tasks or make them so incredibly automatic that we waste little to no energy doing them. I’ll leave you with a nerdy but pertinent quote from Alton Brown “Remember America, organization will set you free.”

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